Cattle farmers who take a proactive approach to controlling bovine TB (bTB) can now get the recognition they deserve through a CHeCS licensed Cattle Health Scheme.
If you are…
- In a high risk area with a low-risk holding
- Selling livestock and want your low-risk status recognised
- Buying livestock and want to minimise risk of introducing TB
- Already using other CHeCS programmes
- Looking for a systematic, supported way to reduce the risk of TB in your herd
- In England and have not had a TB breakdown for one year
- In Wales and have not had a TB breakdown for 10 years
- Or keen to complement other Government and industry efforts to control infection…
…this voluntary programme could suit you.
The Animal Plant and Health Agency (APHA), which runs the statutory bTB testing and control regime nationally, recognises that biosecurity, management of added and animals and level of collaboration with the herd vet can affect the risk of a bTB breakdown.
This is where CHeCS has a role to play. Good biosecurity practice is central to the other CHeCS disease reduction programmes, as is a planned approach to disease reduction through the herd vet. This CHeCS bTB Herd Accreditation programme is based on the findings of research by Amie Adkins in 2015 on the risk of a herd contracting bTB. The research showed that after a herd breakdown, the longer a herd went without a further breakdown, the lower the risk they had of contracting bTB, up until year 10.
In 2015 Defra & the Welsh Government agreed that CHeCS was best placed to develop verifiable standards which would allow cattle herd owners to demonstrate a good level of resilience against the risks posed to their herd by bovine TB and to integrate these into the existing framework of cattle health schemes.
To this end Defra and the Welsh Government have provided some funding over a three year period to develop and support CHeCS ‘roll-out’ of the appropriate standards for voluntary adoption so as to reduce the risk of spread of TB between herds. The funds will also assist in the joint promotion of the adoption of these standards both directly and via the other CHeCS licensed health schemes.
In 2015, APHA found that 36% of breakdowns in Edge areas were from purchased cattle, and 45% were from local exposure; it is estimated the figure in High Risk areas is likely to be similar. In Low Risk areas, 70% of breakdowns were from purchased cattle. Similarly in Wales the majority, if not all, TB breakdowns in the low TB area are as a result of undetected infection brought in through cattle movements. In summary, indirect contact is important and is likely to be the main route for infection outside of low TB areas. If indirect routes can be identified & addressed with the help of CHeCS, there is more opportunity to prevent infection through targeted biosecurity.
In England, around 68% of all cattle herds (around 35,000) have never had a TB herd breakdown or have not had one in the past 10 years.
- In the Low Risk Area, this figure is 95%
- In the Edge Area, this figure is 78%
- In the High Risk Area, this figure is 43%
Furthermore, 83% of herds in the Edge Area and 54% of herds in the High Risk Area have not had a breakdown in the past 5 years. CHeCS TB Herd Accreditation could help identify and publicise these lower risk animals.
Both the Welsh Government and Defra have announced changes to their bovine TB control plan, which recognises the role biosecurity – and specifically the CHeCS protocol – can offer in reducing the risk of a TB breakdown. For more information for farmers and vets in Wales, click here. For more information for vets and farmers in England, click here.
Contact a participating CHeCS licensed Cattle Health Scheme to take the next step.